Learning styles are a big topic in the realms of traditional classroom education. Teachers hear a lot about different learning styles and how they should try to adapt their teaching methods to different kinds of learners. A lot of research has been done on the topic of learning styles and suggestions abound for how to cater to different learning needs in the classroom.

Have you considered as an online instructor that the thousands of students who enroll in your course might have several different learning styles?  You might ask yourself why do learning styles matter – it’s just a $10 course?  Well for starters, personal learning styles, in part, affect the learning outcomes for your students. By default that affects the ratings and reviews they give your course.

Think about it. If a student is a person who craves structure and you suggest an exercise in your course that leaves things open to interpretation, say for a photography experiment, this kind of exercise may not be viewed as “valuable” learning by this student. Such as student might prefer rather to be given a step by step example of how to achieve a certain type of image.

The fact is that when it comes to any kind of education, including Udemy courses, not everyone will learn the same way. It all comes down to the golden rule of course creation – know your audience.

What Are Learning Styles?

The four most common learning styles and the ones that most people are somewhat aware of are visual, aural (auditory), verbal and kinesthetic (physical). In addition, lesser known learning styles include logical, social and solitary.  In this article, we present a brief description of these learning styles and offer ideas for how you can incorporate them into your Udemy course design.

Visual Learning Style

This learning style is self-explanatory. We’ve touched on it in previous articles because it’s the most common learning style and the most obvious one to consider as a Udemy instructor making videos. Standing in front of your camera talking in 5-minute intervals and doing nothing else visually or verbally for 3 hours will not go down well with visual learners.

Tips for Udemy Instructors

To connect your course material to visual learners of course you should use Powerpoint or screen casting of some sort.  Just be sure to mix up and include visuals such as images, graphs/charts, and imagery such as cartoons related to the subject matter. This is how these learners best absorb information. 

Visual learners also like to read. Be sure to include bullet points on slides and useful checklists and articles for download.  Finally, you can incorporate Youtube videos here and there to appeal to this crowd.

Auditory Learning Style

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Adapting to auditory learners requires some creativity

As the terms suggests, people with an auditory learning style retain information best by hearing it. Auditory learners are good at retaining long lectures and remembering and telling stories.

Tips for Udemy Instructors

To connect your course material to auditory learners, try to include stories and anecdotes, music, references to podcasts and interviews.  Repeating important points also helps.  If you can somehow get your students to repeat what you are teaching, for example in a language class, encourage that. Even a song or jingle to convey a lesson point could be helpful to students with this learning style.

Verbal Learning Style

Verbal learner are the opposite of visual learners

Verbal learners love both written and spoken language, they love to read and write. They can usually read a lot and take it all in.

Tips for Udemy Instructors

Include a lot of note taking exercises such as assignments that require writing.  Of course, a written test/quiz that requires a good bit of reading to answer questions is helpful.  Give verbal learners ideas for researching topics further, and provide downloadable handouts for reading and self assessment. Remind students that they can download a transcript of your lectures and/or turn on closed captions to aid with comprehension.

Kinesthetic Learning Style

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Kinesthetic learners learn by doing

These students learn through action and doing physical things.  Clearly if you are teaching a yoga class, there is no problem, but otherwise it can be hard in an online setting to teach to kinesthetic learners.

Tips for Udemy Instructors

To connect your course material to these learners, try to have them make, create or do something physical.  Anything practical or hands on will help. Demonstrate how to do something (s) when possible.   Take action in your instructor videos when possible.  Give assignments that encourage observation and learn by doing. If you have the skills, you can incorporate some 3D graphics in your course presentation to replicate the physical world.

Logical Learning Style

Logical learners like solving problems

This learning style involves being adept at problem solving. Think of someone who enjoys solving mathematical equations or who likes chemistry. People with a logical learning style enjoy patterns and logic problems. 

Tips for Udemy Instructors

To make sure that you are addressing this audience of students, include at least a few activities and assignments that are highly structured, rather than open ended.  This is particularly important to consider if your topic is not a highly structured one, like art or music. Without being too rigid, try to offer some “rules” for say, “writing poetry”.   

You can also try to incorporate some statistics/data/facts on your topic and explain how these relate to each other very clearly.  And if you are teaching a course that will attract a large number of logical-minded learners, such as programming, it goes without saying that you should really focus on providing a highly structured learning experience!

Social Learning Style

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Millennials are notoriously social learners

As the name suggests, people with this learning style enjoy learning in groups and having group discussions. They also like engaging in one on one discussion with instructors. Millennials, who are probably a big percentage of your student audience, are notoriously social learners – so don’t ignore them!

Tips for Udemy Instructors

The most obvious way to engage these learners is to respond to their questions and messages in a reciprocal way.  This is also good practice for Udemy ratings and reviews in general and as such, you should be doing this.

In addition, you can refer your students to forums and other social groups, or ask them to follow you on Twitter and other social media.  You might also include some language in your teaching style that refers to your students as a “group” rather than a single person watching the video. You might also tell stories about other people that your students can relate to.

Solitary Learning Style

Solitary learners are readers and thinkers

The opposite of a social learner would be the person who prefers to learn on their own. By nature of the fact that Udemy courses support individual, solitary learning, chances are you’ll have more than a few solitary learners in your student body. After all, introverted students often find it easier to communicate via computer communication than in face-to-face situations.

Tips for Udemy Instructors

These students are independent learners and more introverted. If you are teaching a class that focuses on say, a hobby such as creative writing, or other interest that many people do alone, it is important to keep this learning style in mind when creating your course content and structure.

People with a solitary learning style like to make plans and set goals. Again, this is a best practice for Udemy course creation, so ideally you are already incorporating goal setting and structured paths to achieve learning objectives into your course design.

Solitary learners like time to think.  So, don’t rush your course subject matter and move through topics too quickly. Other ways to address this learning style are to offer opportunities to journal or keep a log and provide a lot of optional background or history on your topic for introverted thinkers to go explore and ponder.

Learning Styles and Your Udemy Course

Just because Udemy is for the masses doesn’t necessarily mean that you must teach and design your course for the masses.  Remember that within your specific course topic area, certain learning styles may be more prevalent in your student audience.  And generally, within the millions of potential Udemy students, there are certainly a wide range of learning styles.

That’s not to say that you have to address every single one of these learning styles in your course -most people can adapt to more than one learning style. But as with any teaching situation, you must think about your audience.  Experiment with different learning styles as you update your course and keep learning styles in mind when reading student reviews of your course. It just might give you some perspective and differentiation that you need to be more successful as a Udemy instructor.

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